Saturday, October 15, 2005

Six Pantuns For Lost Love

Layang-layang di atas bukit,
Kayu tengar dari seberang,
Cinta sayang bukan sedikit,
Racun penawar tuan seorang.

Above the hill the swallows wing,
Tall mangroves from the further shore,
My love is not a little thing,
You're both the poison and the cure.

Semalam saya mimpikan bulan,
Nyiur gugur dengan tandannya.
Tidur semalam mimpikan tuan,
Rasa kutidur di bantal lengannya.

Last night about the moon I dreamt,
And tumbling nuts of coco-palm.
Last night, with you in dreams I spent,
And pillowed lay upon your arm.

Kiri-jalan, kakan pun jalan,
Sama tengah pokok mengkudud.
Kirim jangan, pesan pun jangan,
Sama-sama menahan rindu.

Right and left a path is broken,
Round a small morinda tree.
Give no message, send no token,
Let our longing dormant be!

Laju, laju perahu laju,
Lajunya smapai Suraya.
Lupa kain, lupa baju,
Tetapi jangan lupakan saya.

Speed speed, swift boat upon your way!
The pace for Surabaya's set.
Forget your coat, or wrap you may,
But me I pray, do not forget.

Pucuk pauh, delima batu,
Anak sembilang di tapak tangan.
Sungguh jauh, negeri satu,
Hilang di mata, di hati jangan.

A ruby and a mango shoot,
A tiny catfish on my palm!
The world is one, tho' far to boot,
When out of sight keep memory warm.

Permata jatuh di dalam rumpuit,
Jatuh di rumput bergilang-gilang.
Kasih umpana embun di hujung rumput,
Datang matahari nescaya hilang.

Gems may fall to earth, alas!
Scintillating on the lawn.
Love is dew on blades of grass,
Bound to fade when comes the dawn.

From Malay Pantuns A.W. Hamilton


Kak Teh said...

Cantiknya sungguh Tasek Chini,
pemandangannya indah permai sekali,
seronoknya Kak Teh datang ke sini
membaca pantun blog Bibliobibuli.

Aaaah, thanks Sharon! Yes, I have seen this collection and there's one from Winstedt as well!

Minamona said...

How very English! Thanks for sharing, Sharon...they were lovely!

=] said...

I love the language all the more when it is portrayed so beautifully. Makes me want to go back to the days where my BM was still of some standard and I could write some decent stuff.

dz said...

these are beautiful!

bibliobibuli said...

Glad you all enjoyed them. I love Hamilton's translations. The book is now sadly out of print ... I think there ought to be a publisher who sets out to reprint some of the most precious old books from here. Raman has a library with some very old treasures, and some wonderful traditional poetry sits on his shelves. Jerome Kugan translated (beautifully) some pantuns and other poems for Amir Mohammad's film Tokyo Magic Hour.

And I love the pantun as a poetic form. Too much neglected these days outside of official functions and weddings. Pantuns (in this form) never caught on in the West, although they are as delightful as haiku. They work every bit as well in English as Malay - and there's always the fun you can have in a competition - exchanging them back and forth. I wanted to organise that (in English) for the Litfest last year with local and invited poets taking part, but somehow it never happened.

lainieyeoh said... that's a guy that does translations well.

annyss said...

Lovely! Lovely! It is not easy to translate a pantun, especially when the verses has to rhyme.

I'll link this entry to my blog.

Tenang-tenang air di laut,
Sampan kolek mudik ke tanjung;
Hati terkenang mulut menyebut,
Budi baik rasa nak junjung.

Irman said...

speed, speed?

Let our longing dormant be?

But me I pray, do not forget?

Well translated?

Is Aw Hamilton.... Yoda?

bibliobibuli said...

irman dear, the challenge is yours ... ;-D

XMOCHA! said...

thanks Sharon, I loved pantuns . my school days came flashing back!


simon said...

hi sharon,

thot you might be interested...


bibliobibuli said...

Thanks so much for your kind comments on PPS, Simon. I must unearth some more pantuns now!

Sharizal said...

Whoah Sharon nice! very nice indeed! Thanks for giving me an idea for my NsNoWriMo! You're a muse indeed! :D

Silencers said...

I can't believe what I just read. I mean, I have always playfully [mis]translated malay poetry into horribly funny english pieces. But this is truly amazing, don't mind if I pass this on to my friends? :)

You humble me with your eloquence.

bibliobibuli said...

sharizal - glad i gave you an idea ... would love to know what it is!

silencers - only wish i could take the credit for the translation but that belongs to hamilton - i just copied them from a book ... but i think that it shows just how hungry the world is for pantuns ...

Sudarshan said...

Hello there,

I have a poem with me starting with the lines :
Gems may fall to earth, alas!
Scintillating on the lawn.
Love is dew on blades of grass,
Bound to fade when comes the dawn.

I got this poem from an english examination question paper 7 years back.Since then i have been trying to figure out the name and the author of this poem. Would you be able to tell me where you got this poem from and who the author is , its title etc.
If you have the details with you, i would request you to pls get back to me with the same.

Thanks in anticipation of your help,

Sudarshan said...


I had recently written to you telling that i would like you to help me with the name and the author of the poem starting with the lines : Gems may fall to earth.
Is there a way you could help me ?